Classical Rhythm Festival 1999

15th Dec - 18th Dec 1999

in Association with

Dear Art Lovers,

A four day festival of rhythm (Melotsavam) is being held in Mumbai during mid December this year. The festival organised by Prithvi Theatre and Keli will be devoted exclusively to the traditional rhythmic ensembles from Kerala and will feature some of the most outstanding artistes of our time.

Rhythm as generally understood could be defined as movement marked by the regulated succession of strong and weak elements or of opposite and different conditions. lt is a characteristic of every type of human is primarily concerned with movement, duration, and periodicity. Tala is a measure of time. We can have many rhythms worked into the framework of a single tala. And tala can be measured, analysed, disseoted and put together scienti´Čücally to synthesise an aesthetic symphony of rhythm. ln lndia, music has attained an independent existenoe apart from its role of assisting nruta and nrutya and rhythm still remained in its supporting role.

But in Kerala there was extensive research and development done in the field of rhythm. This development has happened mainly through certain temple associated communities like Poduval, Marar,and Nambiar. As a result, gigantic symphonies of different instruments were formulated and they were presented by connecting them with the temple rituals and festivals. These ensembles are capable of creating stunning effects on the listeners by their supreme harmony. These ensembles consisting of a large number of artistes can be presented without doing any rehearsals. This is possible due to its scientific base and well defined structure. The flawless and unanimous combination of quite a number of instruments communicating a rare experience of listening is a uniqueness of the cultural legacy of Kerala. This festival is an attempt to bring out the exact richness of this rhythm culture before the audience of Mumbai.

The four day festival will feature Melappadam lead by the celebrated Maddalam exponent seventy four year old Shri. Kalamandalam Appukutty Poduval, Pandimelam (an ensemble of about 60 instruments lead on Chenda by 75 year old Shri. Chakkamkulam Appu Marar, Panchavadyam (an ensemble of about 40 artistes playing 5 types of instruments led by 74 year old Kuzhur Narayana Marar on the Thimila, Mizhavil Thayambaka, an exposition of traditional Mizhavu by 72 year old Kalamandalam P.K.Narayanan Nambiar with his group and Thayambaka on Chenda led by 75 yr old Alipparambu Sivarama Poduval.

The festival will be dedicated to the memory of the legendary percussion artiste, late Thiruvilwamala Venkichan Swamy, by his senior most living desciple Shri Kai. Appukutty Poduval, the most celebrated Maddalam exponent of our time.

Keli and Prithvi will felicitate all the five artistes leading the ensembles with a Veerashrunghala each (a traditional golden bracelet of appreciation) during the festival. Lt will also present the annual Promising artist of the year award for 98 to Shri Kal. Eashwaran Unni and 1999 to Shri Peruvanam Kuttan Marar.

Prithvi Theatre, a dream project of Jennifer and Shashi Kapoor was established in 1978. After enduring a period of struggle and agony in its initial days the theatre moved into the forefront of theatrical activities in the city. lt is today a rendezvous of budding as well as professional dramatists. And most recently is also a proud presenter of festivals of Theatre of lndia '97 and Theatre of Europe '98.

Keli is a Mumbai based organisation dedicated to bringing art lovers in contact with traditional and classical art forms. ln the past it has handled some very exclusive projects such as the Kathakali Festival of Kottayam Stories in 1997, the Classical Womens Theatre Festival in 1998 and a Classical Music Festival of Swathi Thirunal compositions in 1999.

An event of this magnitude would not have been possible without the support of Max Touch Cultural Heritage Series, an endeavour to promote culture, heritage and the performing arts.

The four day festival will be spread over three venues like Y.B. Chavan Centre, Rangbhavan and Horniman Circle. Both Prithvi and Keli cordially invite art lovers to take part in the festival and enjoy a rare experience of rhythm.

Thanking you,

Sanjna Kapoor, Festival Director
K. Subhaschandran, Project Co- ordinator
Ramachandran, Secretary, Keli

Day 1

Wednesday, 15 December 1999
at Y.B.Chawan Center, Nariman Point, 6.45 pm

Opening Ceremony

Welcome Speech:Sanjana Kapoor

Dedication: Dedicating the festival towards the memory of Late Shri Venkichan Swamy.
Felicitation: Presenting Promising Artiste of the year Award to Kal. Eashwaran Unni and Peruvanam Kuttan Marar.
Presenting Veerashrunghala to Shri Alipparambu Sivarama Poduval, Chakkamkuiam Appu Marar, Kuzhur Narayana Marar, P. K. Narayanan Nambiar and Kal. Appukutty Poduval.

Guests of Honour: Ustad Alla Rakha , Pt. C.R.Vyas, Pt. Ram Narayan, Pt. Shivkumar Sharma, Ustad Zakir Hussain and Shashi Kapoor


by Kal. Appukutty Poduval & group

Melappadam is a symphony developed as a part of Kathakali. lt is a rhythmic formulation of Maddalam, Chenda, Chengila and Elathalam. This is initiated with vcoal music and graduaily instruments dominate the symphony. In the climax the symphony enchants the audience with an unbelievable fast rhythm.

Day 2

Thursday, 16 December 1999
At Rang Bhavan 6.30 pm

Kombu Patt

by Kummath Raman Nair & group

Kuzhal Patt

by Kombath Kuttan Paniker & group


by Chakkamkulam Appu Marar & group

lt is a very big orchestra of about 60 artistes led by Chenda. This is a rhythm of 14 beats lt is presented in three stages of slow, medium and fast timing. The pyramidical sharpening of these beats constitute the strength and beauty of the symphony.

Day 3

Friday, 17 December 1999,
at Horniman Circle Garden 6.45 pm


by Kuzhur Narayana Marar & group

This is an ensemble of five different types of instruments, the leading rhythmic instrument being the Thimila. The other instruments are Maddalam, Edakka, llathalam ancl Kombu. The Conch or Shamkhu is blown at the beginning of the performance). Panchavaclyam is an integral part of temple festivals in Kerala. No festival or divine procession is complete without Panchavadyam.

Day 4

Saturday, 18 December 1999,
at Horniman Circle Garden 6.45 pm

Thayambaka (Mizhavu)

by P. K. Narayanan Nambiar & group

Mizhavu is a supporting instrument in Koodiyattam. The synthesis of rhythmic symphony of this instrument is an innovation. This brought forward an independent existence to this instrument among other percussion instruments.

Thayambaka (Chenda)

by Alipparambu Sivarama Poduval & group

Thayambaka on Chenda is an intrioate and aesthetically formulated rhythm work. In this the chief artiste starts with a very slow rhythm and takes the symphony to a very fast rhythm through a gradual playing in different talas.

Our Sincere Thanks to:

Ustad Alla Rakha,Pt.C.R.Vyas,Pt. Ram Narayan,Pt.Shivkumar Sharma,Ustad Zakir Hussain,Celluloid & After,Kala Kaumudi,,Khohinoor Printers Pvt.Ltd.,All Artists